Bloomington’s earned sick and safe leave ordinance takes effect this month. The ordinance requires employers operating in Bloomington to provide some amount of earned sick and safe leave to employees. Three of Minnesota’s largest cities—Duluth, Saint Paul and Minneapolis—have adopted similar ordinances.
The ordinance protects the well-being of Bloomington’s workforce and residents. Employees working in jobs with lower wages, higher turnover and high rates of public contact typically lack access to paid leave. Businesses with five or more employees must provide paid earned sick and safe leave.
Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid leave, and they can choose to provide paid leave. The ordinance would allow employees to earn a minimum of one hour of sick and safe leave for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 48 hours in a year.
In addition to the business and economic pieces of the discussion, the City Council looked at the ordinance from a public health perspective. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that limiting the spread of contagious illness is good for public health and benefits everyone.
Sick leave would be used when employees need to care for their health or the health of another member of their household by going to the doctor, resting or healing. Safe leave would be used when an employee is experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The safe leave hours could be used for going to court to get a restraining order, counseling, relocation or talking to a lawyer.
According to the new ordinance, current employees can use accrued time as soon as they have accrued it. New employees can start using their accrued time 90 days after they begin employment. As part of the ordinance, accrued and available hours must be listed on employee paystubs.